Penguin & Tiny Shrimp Don't Do Bedtime by Cate Berry of Austin (Harper Collins, $17.99 hardcover, illustrated by Charles Santoso) is not a book about bedtime. Of course it's not.

It's a book about fireworks, running from lions, flying hot air balloons, sailing shark-infested waters. It's a book about songs and corny jokes and staying up late until the hippo yawns. And everyone gets sleepy. And zzzzzzz.

But it's not a book about bedtime.

Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies by Carmen Oliver of Round Rock (Capstone, $14.95 hardcover, illustrated by Jean Claude) finds Alelaide wanting to bring Bear to school.

Mrs. Fitz-Pea is assigning everyone in class a reading buddy. Adelaide sets out to convince the teacher that she already has a reading buddy, Bear, and that bears make the best reading buddies.

She makes a strong case, but is it enough to convince Mrs. Fitz-Pea?

Ben's West Texas Snow by Callie Metler-Smith of Stamford (Clear Fork Publishing, $17.99 hardcover, illustrated by Christee Curran-Bauer) is a story about Ben, who lives in West Texas.

There's a lot that Ben likes about West Texas, such as eating watermelon and fishing for catfish, but he really wishes it would snow.

Pop takes him into a field and they plow and plant cotton and wait for it to grow. Ben waits and waits and waits, and finally, one day, the field is full of soft "snow" -- well, at least the West Texas version.

Berry, Oliver and Metler-Smith will speak at this weekend's West Texas Book Festival in Abilene, discussing "Writing and Publishing Children's Books" at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Abilene Woman's Club. For a complete festival schedule, go to the Abilene Public Library web site -- -- and click on the festival logo.

Political biography

Speaker Jim Wright: Power, Scandal, and the Birth of Modern Politics is a comprehensive, even-handed 400-page political biography of the Fort Worth congressman who rose through the ranks to become Speaker of the House, only to be forced to resign in 1989 after a partisan ethics investigation (University of Texas Press, $35 hardcover).

Author J. Brooks Flippen interviewed Wright extensively before his death in 2015 and was granted access to his personal diaries in preparing his narrative on Wright's long, productive and controversial career, including 12 years as majority leader and Speaker.

The biography is divided into four parts -- The Rise of a Politician (up to 1954); Congress in an Age of Tradition (1954-68); Leadership in an Age of Dynamism (1968-80); and Victory and Defeat in the Age of Reagan (1980-2015).

"To understand Jim Wright in all his complexity, with all his flaws and mistakes, all his strengths and triumphs," Flippen writes, "is to understand much of the American past and the politicians who guided it. The story of Jim Wright, whether a tragedy or triumph, is a story of America."

Glenn Dromgoole writes about Texas books and authors. Contact him at

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